? SNEAK PEEK & FREE BOOK ?
I know we have some Sled Dogs series fans here! Book 3, LET THERE BE LIFE, comes out on March 17, and I seriously cannot wait! I'm including an unedited, sneak peek here for those who would like an advance look at Liz's story, which was dually inspired by CINDERELLA and PRIDE & PREJUDICE.
If you haven't started the series yet, grab book one for free here > http://www.melstorm.com/FreeBook
And you can pre-order LET THERE BE LIFE below :)
iBooks ~ http://www.melstorm.com/LTBLife_iBooks
Nook ~ http://www.melstorm.com/LTBLife_Nook
Kobo ~ http://www.melstorm.com/LTBLife_Kobo
GooglePlay ~ http://www.melstorm.com/LTBLife_Google
*** THE SNEAK PEEK ***
Liz sighed with relief as she slid the heels from her feet. The patent leather matched the pale blue of the bridesmaid dresses almost perfectly. The shoes were so shiny they almost appeared to be made of mirrored glass, much like the decorations strung about the hall.
Dorian offered his hand and led her to the dance floor. As far as men were concerned, he was certainly handsome enough. His brown hair lay close to his head in loose curls, the softness of which was contrasted greatly by his strong jaw and angular nose. His eyes, which had been the first thing Liz noticed about him, were made up of several shades of green, each of varying intensity. Regardless of their color, Dorian’s eyes seemed to hold many unspoken words. Questions perhaps. For his column. pale blue bridesmaid dresses
All things considered, Dorian did not fit Liz’s picture of a society reporter. Rather he seemed like an ordinary guy who might be more comfortable in McDonald’s drive-thru than MacGregor’s four-star restaurant downtown. She glanced down and realized his shoes hadn’t been polished, but then felt like a snob for even noticing such a thing.
Clearly, the society column must be a stepping stone for a young reporter like him. She should know better than to judge, seeing as she hated whenever anyone did it to her. And yet how could she not form an opinion when his words and motions seemed to contradict one another?
Liz cleared her throat as Dorian placed his hand at the small of her back and began to guide her in a dance. She would be nice, at least for one dance. After all, it wasn’t his fault her father had married Vanessa Price.
“So you write for the paper?” she asked conversationally. “What drew you to that?”
He smiled sharply, and she was taken aback by the suddenness of it, the forced nature of the gesture. His voice remained smooth, buttery. “Hey, I’ll be the one asking the questions here.”
She nodded. The sooner she gave him what he wanted, the sooner she would be free of him. “Okay. Shoot.”
“It’s a beautiful wedding,” he said the moment Liz had granted permission. His words rolled over one another as if each was pulling the next along . “Ben Benjamin is your father. Is that right?”
“And your mother wasn’t invited?” He hooked an eyebrow, waited. Both of which told Liz he already knew what her answer would be.
“My mother is dead.”
“Oh, sorry.” He frowned, but there was no sorrow in it. He’d known about her mother. What else did he know? And why had he bothered to learn these things about her?
She sighed and said what she was expected to whenever anyone brought up her mother. “It’s okay. It happened a long time ago. I never really knew her.”
Dorian’s smile returned, completely at odds with his words. “How did she die?”
“She died while having me,” Liz whispered. She didn’t like talking about her mother with strangers. Mostly because she didn’t have much to say once she revealed the cause of her death. Liz had never known her mom, and her dad didn’t speak of her often. He would probably discuss her even less now that Vanessa was part of their lives.
“And that was… What? In 1990?” He knew, he knew exactly what he wanted to ask—knew the correct date, too. So why was he faking it?
Her warning bells chimed loud and long like a grandfather clock counting out the stroke of midnight. Their dance had only just begun. She’d hold out until the end of the song, then she would say goodbye to this pesky man once and for all. Until then, she’d play her part as expected, but she refused to give anything away. “94, but I don’t see what that has to do with the wedding.”
“You’re right. Sorry for prying.” He chuckled as if her suspicion amused him, or perhaps it was her naïveté he found so endearing. Whatever the case, she didn’t like him at all.
“It’s okay,” Liz said, even though it most definitely wasn’t. “Just ask the questions you need to know for your column.”
“Right, right.” He paused as if the slight change in script had completely thrown him off his game. “There are a lot of mirrors,” he pointed out and then pointed over to the nearest table as if somehow Liz hadn’t already noticed this for herself.
She grabbed hold of this innocuous change in topic and decided to milk it for all it was worth. The more they could talk about harmless things like Vanessa’s interior design preferences, the sooner the dance would end and she’d be free. “Vanessa loves mirrors. When she moved in, she brought at least half a dozen of them with her. She hung some where the walls were empty. Others, she put up in place of my dad’s paintings and photos.”
Dorian smirked, and she wondered if perhaps he didn’t like Vanessa very much either. “Just your typical vain politician, huh?”
“That would be off the record, please. And again, off topic.” Liz glared at him. If her words weren’t keeping Dorian in line, perhaps a warning glance would do the trick.
He stumbled over his speech as he rushed to change the topic once again. “The, uh… The food was good. Did you have the salmon?”
“No, I’m allergic to seafood.” Okay, so maybe he didn’t know everything about her. Maybe the first couple of details had simply been lucky guesses.
Dorian didn’t seem troubled or surprised by this information. “That’s unfortunate for somebody living in Alaska. Tell me, have you lived here your whole life?”
Again with the questions that had nothing to do with the wedding. She couldn’t tell what this man was trying to get at, and she didn’t like this dizzying dance of cat and mouse. It was time to call him on how inappropriate this all was. “Yes, but why does that matter? Are you trying to interview me, flirt with me, or interrogate me? Because right now I really can’t tell which it is.”
“Flirt with you?” He laughed a deep, throaty sound. She hated it. Hated him. “No, no. You’re really not my type. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize to me. You aren’t my type, either. Enough with the personal questions, okay? What more do you need to know for your article? How to spell names? Which flowers made up Vanessa’s bouquet?” He seemed to know enough about her to believe that he was too good for her, and she knew enough about him to know that she didn’t like him. Could this dance just end already?
He smiled as if delighting in her continued capture. “Sure, tell me that.”
“The flowers are roses, peonies, and dahlias.”
“Pretty flowers. Do they represent anything?”
“Yeah, love. I guess. Isn’t that the point of this whole big thing?” She gestured around the room as best she could without bumping into other guests on the dance floor.
“You tell me.” Dorian smirked at her, and she took a deep steadying breath to keep from losing her cool. This exchange was growing more uncomfortable by the minute.
Liz shrugged and cast her eyes down toward Dorian’s unpolished shoes. “I’m not really much of an expert on things like that.”
“Yeah, that doesn’t much surprise me. What are you an expert at? Painting? Music? Horseback riding?” His eyes locked onto hers as he listed each potential hobby, and seemed to widen around the word ‘horseback.’
Claims he’s not flirting and then asks questions like that? Liz thought, her anger growing as she recalled the haughty laugh Dorian had unleashed at the mere suggestion that he might be flirting.
“That is oddly specific and wholly inappropriate. I trust you got what you need for your article?” Liz flung her hands away from his shoulders and the rest of her body followed as she turned away from the dance floor.
Dorian followed, too, that same self-satisfied smirk filling out his face. “Oh, I got plenty.”
“Good, then good bye. I think this song is over anyway.”
She felt his eyes on her as she marched toward the restroom. How long would she need to stay hidden to avoid answering any more awkward questions from Dorian Whitley? And why had the vision of a large chestnut horse with a white spot on its nose flashed through her mind when he’d asked her that last question.
Liz had never ridden a horse a day in her life.
Yet somehow the image seemed so real.
Almost like a memory.
Whatever spell Dorian had cast on her during their dance was clearly the work of dark magic. Hopefully he would write his stupid article and then disappear from her world for good.